Maryland: Department Launches Conservation Education Outreach Program For Small Horse Farms

ANNAPOLIS, MD (April 1, 2024) ~ Annapolis, MD - The Maryland Department of Agriculture has recently launched an educational outreach program aimed at small horse farms in the state. The program is designed to promote conservation practices that will not only benefit local water quality but also create a healthier environment for horses.

According to Maryland Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks, the state has more horses per acre than any other state, with over 94,000 horses. While these animals are an important part of Maryland's heritage and contribute to its economy and natural beauty, they can also have a negative impact on the health of local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay if not properly managed.

The public education campaign, which will run throughout the month of April, includes a 30-second public service announcement that will be featured on Maryland Public Television's Chesapeake Bay Week, Maryland Farm and Harvest, Outdoors Maryland, and other PBS programming. In addition to this, social media messaging will also be utilized on the department's social media channels and other digital platforms.

The goal of this campaign is to connect horse owners with free conservation services provided by local soil conservation districts. These services aim to protect natural resources and improve the health of horses. The public service announcements will direct viewers to the department's conservation page for horse owners at This page provides tips on best management practices for greener pastures, cleaner streams, and healthier horses. It also includes links to educational videos, publications, resources, and local soil conservation districts.

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In the United States alone, there are nearly 3,000 soil conservation districts that have been helping landowners conserve land, water, forests, wildlife, and natural resources for over 75 years. In Maryland specifically, there are 23 districts - one in every county - that work with landowners across the state. Their work impacts almost two million acres of land. The department provides staffing support for many district positions including equine experts who offer free technical and planning services to help horse owners address natural resource concerns such as mud and manure, over-grazed pastures, stream fencing, and soil health. They also assist landowners in applying for grants that could help cover the cost of improvements.

It is important to note that Maryland law requires farms with 8,000 pounds or more of live animal weight or at least $2,500 in gross income to manage their farms using a nutrient management plan prepared by an MDA-certified plan writer. These regulated operations must also exclude horses and other livestock from streams.

For more information about this outreach campaign, please contact the Resource Conservation Public Affairs Coordinator, Rona Flagle, at

Filed Under: Government, State

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